The big skills mismatch?

The CIPD have recently released research from 3,700 UK workers which shows that 49% of workers think they are under skilled for their job and 49% think they are over skilled, leaving a very small percentage of people equally matched. You can read the full report Over-skilled and underused: Investigating the untapped potential of UK skills here.

The research also found that:

  • A large proportion of jobs in the UK require only low or no qualifications
  • Over-qualification is highest amongst those with degree-level qualifications, with many graduates ending up in non-graduate roles
  • While over-qualification affects over a quarter of the workforce, over-skilling is a much bigger challenge, suggesting that a large proportion of the workforce’s skills are under-utilised
  • Individuals need both the motivation and the opportunity to deploy their skills effectively
  • Lower-paid individuals, and those in lower socio-economic groups, are much less likely to have been promoted, highlighting problems with social mobility, as well as those associated with escaping low pay
  • A lack of opportunities was the most commonly reported barrier to progression; however, the survey uncovered that well over a quarter of respondents were not seeking to progress
  • A quarter of the workforce had undertaken no training in the last 12 months, with older employees, low-wage workers, those on part-time contracts and the self-employed particularly badly affected
  • The qualitative data emphasises the key role that workplace culture supported by high-quality line management plays in enabling workers to use and develop their skills and progress at work
Download and read the full report here 

Measuring skills and asking employees to rate themselves against it is no mean feat and this report does a good job of capturing how these factors are impacting workers now, but what lessons can we take from it? Can and should we hire people with the exact skills profile? Whether or not we should be striving for roles above our skill set the worrying trend of workers in the UK not receiving any training at all and particularly low skilled workers not being able to progress leaves us with real concerns around social mobility and productivity.

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